T-90M Bhishma:- India’s Main Battle Tank (MBT)

The T-90 is a Russian third generation main battle tank.It is the latest development in the T-series of Russian tanks and represents an increase in firepower, mobility and protection. It is manufactured by Uralvagonzavod in Nizhnyi Tagil, Russia. The T-90S entered service with the Russian Army in 1992.

Orginally derived from Russia,Bhishma is a dubbed name just for T-90S.Russian Ministry of Defence found that it could no longer afford to manufacture two war tanks in parallel.The one bein T-80U which was of better quality and other was the chepaer one T-72B.Therfore they started giving small orders along with improvised features for improving exportation to other countries.

In February 2001, the Indian Army signed a contract for 310 T-90S tanks: 124 were completed in Russia and the rest are being delivered in “knocked down” form for final assembly in India.Currently India operates more than 862 T-90S which were produced in three separate orders.

It is currently the most modern tank in service with the Indian Ground Forces. T-90 uses a 125mm 2A46 smooth bore tank gun, 1G46 gunner sights, a new engine, and thermal sights.

In all, India plans to have 310 T-90S and 1,330 T-90M tanks in service by 2020 (total of 1,657 tanks by 2020).

T-90s The Bhishma,Main Battle Tank,Combat Indian Army

A composite agreement under which 310 tanks will be acquired, a large number of which will be supplied in fully formed condition and, therefore, will be ready for an immediate deployment. The Ministry of Defence would also be acquiring complete technology transfer for the indigenous manufacture of these tanks in India.This acquisition will greatly improve the operational capability of the Indian Army.

A major contract was signed with Russia for the procurement of 310 T-90 tanks in February, 2001 to strengthen Indian Army. Under the contract 124 tanks will be imported in fully formed condition and 186 Tanks in Completely Knocked Down (CKD) / Semi Knocked Down (SKD) condition along with Transfer of Technology for indigenous manufacture in India. As of 2001 eighty T-90 tanks were expected to be supplied by Russia by the end of the year. The transfer of technology documents are also being received and the assembly of the semi-knocked down or the completely knocked down parts of the tank was to commence towards the end of year 2002, with the indigenous production is scheduled to begin by the year 2006. This would be developed with the experience gained in the manufacturing of the T-72 tank.

Finally India got the licence to manufacture the T-90S. Russia supplied documents for the local manufacture of the tank in India. A T-90S Bhishma tank was thus manufactured by the Heavy Vehicles Factory at Avadi, Tamil Nadu on January 7, 2004. Following which 10 others were manufactured by the end of 2009.Further 1000 tanks were supposed to be produced locally by 2020. The sole purpose of purchasing T-90S was that it had features almost similar to the T-72 which were then used by Indian Army there by simplifying training and maintenance.

T-90S The Bhishma Design

T-90S tank is 9.63m long ,3.73 m wide and 2.22 m high.It weighs around 46 tonnes.The tank is fed by automatic loader which removes the need for a manual loader in the tank and reduces the crew to 3 which includes commander,gunner and driver.

It weighs just 48 tons and has a crew of 3 which is made possible by the use of an autoloader for the 125 mm smoothbore gun. The unique feature of this tank is its ability to fire the Invar anti-tank missile from its barrel. The other special feature is that, even though the 12.7 mm machine gun mounted on the turret is manually operated, it can also be remotely controlled from inside the turret by the commander. The Indian variants have indigenous Kanchan ceramic armour which is topped by a layer of Explosive Reactive Armour (ERA). It is powered by a diesel engine which makes maintenance easier and reduces fuel consumption compared to the gas turbines of the T-80.

It is said that the Indian T-90S are downgraded variants of the Russian T-90A, but the Indians have fitted it with Israeli, French and Swedish sub systems and have made it possibly better than the Russian variant itself. It is slated to be fitted with the Saab LEDS-150 Active Protection System (APS) which will give it a 3-layered defense against enemy anti-tank munitions. The first layer is the APS, the second layer is the ERA and the third layer is the Ceramic armour. The T-90S can be easily deployed anywhere as it can be airlifted by Il-76 and C-17 transports of the IAF. India operates around 600 T-90S and the eventual number by 2020 is expected to be around 1500 tanks.

The armour protection level rests on the hardened steel hull of the T-72 with inserts of composites in the turret front, and a layer of ERA bricks (KONTAKT 5) explosive armour. Secondary armament comprises a roof-mounted 12.7 mm and coaxial 7.92 mm machine gun. Mobility is assured by two planetary gear boxes for the transmission and two final drives, plus a snorkel allowing 5m of immersion with a 20 min. preparation. The limited weight of the tank 45 tons, compared to the Arjun allows this tank to be air-transported and compatible with most bridges in India. However The Indian T-90S didn’t have the Shtora-1 countermeasure suite, and the locally-built model is equipped with sights from Thales (France) and the Kanchan composite armour developed locally.


Kanchan Armour

KANCHAN ARMOUR is the name refferd to the MODULAR COMPOSITE ARMOUR indigeneously developed by INDIA to be used for mainly Arjun and its other Tanks. The Kanchan Armour got its name from Kanchan Bagh where the Defence Metallurgical Reserch Lab(DMRL) is located. Most of the information about the armour is classified but we cumulated some information from DRDO sources as follows:-
1. The Armour is said to be made by sandwiched Composite Plates between ROLLED HOMOGENEOU ARMOUR(RHA).
2. The armour is able to defeat APDA & HEAT rounds.
3. The armour can readily withstand APFSDS round.
4. The Armour has till yet defeated all available HESH & FSAAPDS rounds, including Israeli rounds.
5. The armour composes of Ceramic, Aumina, Fiberglass and other such materials.
6. During 1980s, Kanchan defeated 106mm RCL gun which was to be tested on ARJUN.

T-90S Bhessma Armaments

The T-90S armament includes one 125mm 2A46M smoothbore gun, stabilised in two axes and fitted with a thermal sleeve. The gun tube can be replaced without dismantling inside the turret. The gun can fire a variety of ammunition including APFSDS (Armour Piercing Fin-Stabilised Discarding Sabot), HEAT (high-explosive anti-tank), HE-FRAG (high-explosive fragmentation) as well as shrapnel projectiles with time fuses.

The T-90S gun can also fire the 9M119 Refleks (NATO designation AT-11 Sniper) anti-tank guided missile system. The range of the missile is 100m to 4,000m and takes 11.7 sec to reach maximum range. The system is intended to engage tanks fitted with ERA (explosive reactive armour) as well as low-flying air targets such as helicopters, at a range of up to 5km. The missile system fires either the 9M119 or 9M119M missiles which have semi-automatic laser beamriding guidance and a hollow charge warhead. Missile weight is 23.4kg. The guns automatic loader will feed both ordnance and missiles.




Fire Control System and Observation

The T-90S has the 1A4GT integrated fire control system (IFCS) which is automatic but with manual override for the commander. The IFCS contains the gunner’s 1A43 day fire control system, gunner’s TO1-KO1 thermal imaging sight which has a target identification range of 1.2km to 1.5km and commander’s PNK-S sight.

The gunner’s 1A43 day FCS comprises: 1G46 day sight / rangefinder with missile guidance channel, 2E42-4 armament stabiliser, 1V528 ballistic computer and DVE-BS wind gauge.The commander’s PNK-4S sight includes a TKN-4S (Agat-S) day / night sight which has identification ranges of 800m (day) and 700m (night).

The driver is equipped with a TVN-5 infrared night viewer.


The T-90s Bhishma is powered by liquid cooled V-84MS 618kW (840hp) four stroke V-12 piston engine. This engine can be fuelled by T-2 or TS-1 kerosene and A-72 benzine, in addition to diesel. The tank can carry up to 1,600 litres of fuel in the main fuel tanks and fuel drums. The fuel tanks are reinforced with armour plating.

The T-90S with uprated 1000hp engine can attain a top speed of 60km/h on the road and 45 km/h on rough terrain.The tank has typical drive-train arrangement with engine rear placed and transmission includes primary reduction gear, two planetary final gearboxes and two planetary final drives. The running gear features torsion bar suspension with hydraulic shock absorbers at one, two and six road wheel stations and tracks with rubber-metallic pin hinges.

The tank is provided with a snorkel for deep fording and can ford 5m of water with equipment which can be deployed in 20 minutes.The tank is also fitted with air conditioning system for work in high temperature zones.


According to latest media reports, India plans to upgrade Russian made T-90 tanks with latest technologies to keep it modern and fighting fit for next decade, Indian authorities have all ready had a meeting with makers of the tank in Russia recently and are planning on list of key technologies which will be part of the major upgrades planned by India.

Russia had showcased T-90MS upgraded tank in last defence expo and were keen to sale it to India, but India will be working in incorporating some local technologies in tank along with some Russian equipment s and are not interested in purchasing upgraded tank offered by Russia.

Major upgrades to the tanks planned is Automatic Target tracker which once locked will track the target in auto mode with full 360 degree coverage without inputs from gunner; another upgrade planned will be see improved Thermal Imager for better Night Fighting capability. Most of the upgrades planned with enhance tanks fighting in modern warfare.

India Purchasing 464 T-90 MS

The T-90MS is the latest version of the Russian T-90 main battle tank. It is also referred as Tagil. It is a modernized version and has a number of improvements and improved operational capabilities over its predecessor. The Tagil was first revealed in 2011.

The 10 new regiments of T-90MS tanks, equipped with thermal imaging night sights to allow the tank commander to hit at enemy locations even during night battles, will strengthen army’s fire power along the land border stretch with Pakistan-from Jammu in north till the western flank in Gujarat.

The T-90 has emerged as the main battle tank of the Indian Army and is replacing the older variants of T-72 and T-55 tanks in the force.

It is equipped with a 125-mm smoothbore gun – 2A46M-5 launcher, guided by missiles with laser-guided sight with thermal imager. The maximum sighting range of the armour-piercing shells is 4,000 m, and high-explosive shells – up to 9,600 m. The maximum range of the direct shot at the target height of 2 m. is 2120 m. The tank is also protected with dynamic protection against chemical and armour-piercing shells. At the customer’s request, the active protection Arena-E system to combat anti-tank guided missiles can be installed in the T-90MS.







Source:- aermech.in

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